Combined Membrane-Distillation-Forward-Osmosis System for Water Purification

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Water is a necessity of life.  With one in nine people lacking access to safe water, the need for efficient methods for treating water are at an all-time high.  Current processes for the desalination of saline water have many disadvantages such as being very energy intensive, having limited water recovery, and costing a lot of money.  Because of the many problems of existing processes, researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have created a novel system and method for the purification of liquids.



Our researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have created a combined membrane-distillation/forward-osmosis system and method for purifying a liquid such as seawater or brackish water.  Our method and system can be applied to the water industry for use in areas like water and wastewater treatment.  Our technology will benefit the water industry since it is highly efficient, environmentally-friendly, and its forward-osmosis technique is less susceptible to membrane fouling.



  • Our system results in a high recovery or flux of water.
  • The equipment used for performing forward-osmosis is very simple and reliable.
  • Forward-osmosis membranes are less susceptible to fouling.
  • The reduced susceptibility to membrane fouling may reduce the need to pre-treat the feed stream for the forward-osmosis purification unit.
  • Water streams that would be otherwise typically be treated as waste can be used to create more product water or lower the capital, maintenance, or energy costs of the system.







Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ellen Purpus
Assistant VP
University of Nevada, Reno
Tzahi Cath
Amy Childress
Christopher Martinetti